How did an ace from Japan who once said he hated the pitching position advance to the major leagues?
Japanese media ‘West Nippon Sports’ posted an article on the 19th (Korean time) analyzing the secret of Senga Kodai (29, New York Mets), who was a foster player for the Softbank Hawks, entering the major leagues. On the 11th, Senga realized his dream of becoming a big leaguer by signing a free agent contract with the New York Mets of the National League East Division for 5 years and 75 million dollars (approximately 98 billion won).
According to the media, Senga was an unknown pitcher who had no ties to the Koshien during his high school days. However, at the time, the owner of a local sports store, who highly appreciated Senga’s potential, contacted the Softbank scout, and Senga stepped onto the professional stage as a foster player in 2011.
Early in his career, he wasn’t even a starting pitcher. After his debut in 2012, he stood out from the bullpen, but from 2016 he took full-time selection, quickly adapting to his new position and achieving double-digit wins for 7 consecutive seasons. His first-team career record was 87 wins, 44 losses, 1 save and 20 holds in 224 games with an earned run average of 2.59.
It was in the 2017 offseason that Senga started to look into the major leagues in earnest. At the time, he pushed for a transfer to the big leagues through the posting system, but had to postpone his dream due to opposition from the Softbank club. However, he did not get frustrated and dreamed of the day he would cross the Pacific Ocean as a free agent.
Right before the Tokyo Olympics last year, Senga became a hot topic in Japan when he said, “I hate the position of pitcher.” He said at the time, “Most games are decided by the pitcher. It’s good if you do well, but if you don’t, it’s a position that stands out. I plan to study a lot to do well on the mound.” 토토
In 22 games this year, with an average ERA of 1.94 and an average of 11 wins and 6 losses, Senga ranked second in the Central League in average ERA, most wins, and third in strikeouts (156). And finally, he formalized his major league challenge by obtaining the overseas FA qualification of his dream, and finally became a Mets Man who ate together with living legends such as Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander.
West Japan Sports said, “The first major league transfer from a foster player is a new step in the Japanese professional baseball world. It is noteworthy whether he will be able to continue playing in the ‘disliked position’ even after crossing the Pacific Ocean.”